22 FEBRUARY 1992

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`Gentlemen of the jury, do you find the accused guilty or not guilty?' F our IRA men were shot dead by secu- rity forces near Coalisland while on board a hijacked lorry with a...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 071-405

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1706; Telex 27124; Fax 071-242 0603 POINTS OF VIEW A ccusations by politicians of bias among the broadcast media have become as standard a part of an election campaign as...


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SUBSCRIBE TODAY - RATES 12 Months 6 Months UK 0 £71.00 0 £35.50 Europe (airmail) 0 £82.00 0 £41,00 USA Airspeed ❑ US$110 O US$55.00 Rest of Airmail 0 £98.00 0 £49.00 World...

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The Tories struggle to contain their chronic dose of economic incontinence SIMON HEFFER T his election campaign seems inter- minable, but one risks forgetting how speedily its...

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KEITH WATERHOUSE T he race is on to make Maxwell: the Movie, with at least three contenders at the starting post. My money is on Mike Molloy, former editor-in-chief of the...

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As America withdraws, Britain may grow up again AUBERON WAUGH A though composed a few days before Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, this piece is written in the assumption that...

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John Simpson investigates the changed world of secret intelligence, now that the Cold War is over I GUESSED early on that the man in the expensive yet somehow ill-fitting suit...

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William Dalrymple visits a strange retirement home, a final refuge for the Anglo-Indians New Delhi `IT WAS the lavatories that did it. They were the final straw.' `That's...

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Michael Heath

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A profile of Joe Haines, Robert Maxwell's unapologetic hagiographer NOW THAT Robert Maxwell's huge life is to be filmed in glorious Technicolor (and, one trusts, Cinemascope),...

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Anne Applebaum complains that that life in London is tougher than it is in Warsaw WHEN I lived in Warsaw, I often com- plained of the food. My English friends told me it was...

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Dominic Lawson writes: Three years ago we appealed to our readers to buy half- price subscriptions to The Spectator, which we undertook to send to people in Poland. The scheme...

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NO THANKS! Sandra Barwick finds that the Missionary Sisters of Charity are not universally welcome IN THE past, we sent missionaries out by every ship to convert pagans in...


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A reader wrote the following letter as a covering note to her application for the job of personnel manager at Clarks Shoes. Dear Mr Baker Re: The Position of Personnel Manager...

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If symptoms persist.. .

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I SOMETIMES wonder what patients think their insides are made of. Last week, an elderly lady of the mildest appearance informed me that her doctor had diagnosed a hiatus hyaena....

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Wimps, mediocrities, nonentities and plausible rogues PAUL JOHNSON I t is fashionable to deplore the low state of American politics by pointing to the competing inadequacies...

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Sir: Why I read The Spectator I can't think, since

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every issue contains remarks calculat- ed to offend the liberal mind. John Simpson's article on Salman Rushdie was particularly obnoxious. Simp- son seems to want 'the laws of...

Funny bone of contention

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Sir: As the editor who 'discovered' Mary Wesley (Jumping the Queue) when I was working for Macmillan, I find myself at odds with Miss Brookner's review (Books, 8 February). To...

To chew or eschew?

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Sir: Would John Simpson Meld hostage by Salman Rushdie', 15 February) like us to pull down our public houses for fear of offending Muslim immigrants, to enforce circumcision,...

Lady Craye's motives

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Sir: I fear that Christopher Howse misrep- resents P.G. Wodehouse's assessment of 19th-century German philosophy in his review of A Book of Consolations (18 Jan- uary). It was...

LETTERS Defence of the realm

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Sir: I am writing to comment on the mis- chievous and provocative article by H. Massingberd CAB the Queen's men', 1 February). He is entitled to his opinions and so am I, having...

Grave ceremonies

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Sir: The British Humanist Association is an admirer of Mr Ludovic Kennedy's forthright views on religion and ethics (Diary, 8 February) and our opinions would normally coincide,...

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Capitalist conspiracy

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Sir: While it may be true, as asserted by Mr R.C. Shaw (Letters, 2 February) that Laski was 'pushed to an early death by the strain of a libel action', it should be remembered...

Hair shirtless

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Sir: While agreeing that neither The Plea- sure Principle nor Peter Firth's performance therein was up to much, surely it says some- thing about Vanessa Letts (Arts, 15 Febru-...

If I were a poor man

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Sir: Your editorial on the NHS (15 Febru- ary) was foolish. People with any sense don't 'go private' to get a private room. They do it to jump the queue: that is, they use their...

Age-old argument

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Sir: Dr Wilkinson (Letters, 8 February) makes the sarcastic statement: 'The fact that those in relative poverty have increased from about 6 per cent of the pop- ulation in the...


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Sir: Carnations (Letters, 15 February)? Surely orchids (see any etymological dictio- nary). They bring us full circle and, coming from ancient Greek, are perfectly mention-...

Rooting for the Witch

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Sir: Rupert Christiansen, in his review of Humperdinck's Konigskinder (Opera, 8 February), complains that the ENO pro- duction reveals 'no evident situation, atmo- sphere or...

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First Great American Novel James Buchan SALEM IS MY DWELLING PLACE by Edwin Havilland Miller Duckworth, f25, pp. 596 H awthorne's use of symbols distressed Henry James. The...

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The price of fame, paid by others

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Patrick Skene Catling LESS THAN A TREASON: HEMINGWAY IN PARIS by Peter Griffin OUP, £14.95, pp. 197 A e there any happy novelists out there? — happy, virtuous novelists? The...

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Return to splendour?

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Philip Mansel THE GREAT COUNTRY HOUSES OF CENTRAL EUROPE: CZECHOSLOVAKIA, HUNGARY AND POLAND by Michael Pratt, with photographs by Gerhard Trumler Abbeville Press, 135,...

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Both perhaps present in time future

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Anita Brookner EVER AFTER by Graham Swift Picador, f14.99, pp. 261 A ntonia Byatt's Possession, it seems, has given birth to a genre. A contemporary narrator, of a...

All in

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the same boat John Spurling THE SHIPYARD by Juan Carlos Onetti, translated by Nick Caistor Serpent's Tail, f8.99, pp.186 M any Latin-American novelists have been called in the...

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Where the scum meets the dregs

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Still waters running deep

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Hilary Corke AN ENCHANTMENT by P. J. Kavanagh Carcanet, f6.95, pp. 47 P J. Kavanagh opens this small packed collection of subtle, slippery poems with advice put into the mouth...

Glimpses of failure

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Mark Illis THREE EVENINGS by James Lasdun Secker, f13.99, pp.175 T he title story in James Lasdun's second collection of short stories describes three phases of an uneasy...

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Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

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John Hackett ONE HUNDRED DAYS: THE MEMOIRS OF THE FALKLANDS BATTLE GROUP COMMANDER by Sandy Woodward, with Patrick Robinson HarperCollins, £18, pp. 360 A dmiral Sandy...


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As a landscape can be ravaged, even the balance of the sky shifted on the horizon's brim, at the falling of one tree, so a city quavers, is depopulated by a familiar face, now...

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Mu sic The Duenna (Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona) Poised for take-off Robin Holloway on the long-awaited premiere of Roberto Gerhard's first opera R oberto Gerhard was...

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Barton Fink (`15', Lumiere) Who gives a fink? Vanessa Letts T here were all sorts of things I liked about Barton Fink. There was the most realistic portrayal of a man...


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Making it Better (Hampstead Theatre) That's not life Christopher Edwards J ames Saunders's new play is a curious affair. The plot seems, on the face of it, to be rooted in...

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Maxwell's house Alistair McAlpine I suppose one should never speak ill of the dead. Ironically, in the case of the likes of the late Mr Robert Maxwell, it is the only time to...

Colin Firth

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In her column last week Vanessa Letts referred to a performance she attribut- ed to Colin Firth, in the film The Plea- sure Principle. In fact, the actor concerned was Peter...

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Exhibitions 1

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Hugh Buchanan (Francis Kyle, till 27 February) Anthony Farrell (Woodlands Art Gallery, till I March) Disquieting sensations Giles Auty F ifteen years ago I was living in West...

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Telling it how it wasn't Oliver Knox witching on the television these days reminds me of getting on my bicycle almost 50 years ago and riding five miles to our local cinema,...

Exhibitions 2

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The Making of England: Anglo-Saxon Art and Culture AD 600-900 (British Museum, till 8 March) Light in our darkness Roderick Conway Morris S ums countries' Dark Ages were...

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High life

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Mother knows best Taki T he prettiest girl in London at this moment is Kate Reardon, the 22-year-old fashion editor of Tatler magazine. The rea- son I specify 'at the moment'...

Low life

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Grog blossom Jeffrey Bernard I dozed off after a lunch in the Groucho Club one day last week and when I awoke I found that Sue Townsend had left me a nicely inscribed copy of...

Marlyn Harris is away.

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Long life

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The date when Jack built Nigel Nicolson Now, while everyone's house and family history are bound to be of interest to the householder, there are limits to the interest they...

New life

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Hot pursuit Zenga Longmore M iss Marple never got into a fix like this,' I said to myself, as I grimly pushed my way into the gloomy Stonebridge estate of Harlesden, a...

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LOCAL restaurants are the ones that suf- fer most in the food columns. The charm of the trat round the corner, the friendly neighbourhood joint, can pall once the joy of...

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COMPETITION COVAS REG AL 12 YEAR OLD SCOTCH WHISKY With malice to all Jaspistos I n Competition No. 1715 you were in - vited to suppose that a rancorous auto - biography by...


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Vindaloo Raymond Keene I n the past year the 22 - year - old Viswa - nathan Anand from Madras has been the only grandmaster who has regularly in - flicted defeat on both...

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No. 1718: Bouts times

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You are invited to write a poem, in any metre, in which the following rhyme-words appear in this order: class, glass, swear, air, openness, less, cadgers, majors, word, heard,...

Solution to 1044: Gender-bender

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a , a rs ' ri II ill C Er II ri ill rI R ri • II AIL u I D A REE le LI ■ N N Ddll DIAN D Ii I • El El II 'ilk. a ro.1191n El • n T 11 E n 178 N EIP W ....


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A first prize of £20 and two further prizes of £10 (or, for UK solvers, a copy of Chambers English Dictionary — ring the word 'Dictionary') for the first three correct solutions...

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Culture shock Frank Keating WITH South Africa's inclusion, the fifth cricket World Cup is the first genuinely true to its name. Yet how about this for a team which would be...


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Q. As I am a comparatively well-off bache- lor, I have been made godfather to a num- ber of friends' children. I am perfectly happy to be generous and usually quite good at...